Westchester doctor explains dangers of Zika virus
Growing concerns over the Zika virus, which can cause neurological birth disorders, prompted the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to send out a travel warning on Wednesday.
News 12 sat down with Dr. Gary Wormser, the chief of infectious diseases at Westchester Medical Center, to discuss the dangers of the mosquito-borne virus, particularly among pregnant women.
"The virus enters the body of the pregnant woman, then travels across the placenta into the baby itself and apparently attacks the nervous system," he says.
While not fatal, the virus can cause a baby to be born with a smaller brain and head.
According to the CDC, Zika has been diagnosed in Central and South America, Cape Verde in Africa and some Caribbean countries.
The CDC is recommending pregnant women do not travel to the impacted zones.
Symptoms include fever, rash, red eyes and joint pain, but doctors say 80 percent of patients won't even feel sick.
Doctors say the illness is only contracted by infected mosquitoes. New York has three cases so far, including a traveler from Orange County who just returned from South America.
Several airlines monitoring the virus, including American Airlines, are offering refunds for pregnant women scheduled to travel to the affected areas if they provide a doctor's note.